What can instructional design help you do?
In terms of what instructional design can do for you, following are some of the key discussion points and takeaways from the MEPI Symposium Basics in Instructional Design session:
- The process of instructional design can be applied at various levels. By levels, we discussed the curriculum, course, and activity levels.
- At the curricular-level, instructional design is often applied for curriculum creation for a new program or for curriculum innovation (change) of existing programs.
- The result of following the instructional the design process at the curriculum level is an aligned sequence of courses that culminate toward reaching curricular-level learning outcomes and key competencies. (Note the process diagram showing the instructional design process on this page. This diagram is explained fully in my last blog.)
- Contextual needs and constraints are what guide the instructional design focus. These needs and constraints, in relation to the desired learning outcomes, inform the strategies that can be implemented on the teaching (instructional) and learning side and what kind of support needs to be in place to enable a curriculum implementation that is sustainable especially if e-learning is concerned.
- At the course-level, instructional design is often applied for new course creation or innovating (changing) existing ones.
- The result of following the instructional design process at the course level is the alignment of course-level learning outcomes to curricular-level learning outcomes and competencies; to accomplish this, good course-level instructional design ensures that course activities, such as content and assessments, are themselves aligned among them.
- For example, if learners are meant to be able to solve problems X, Y, and Z, then one needs to decide on what the content and assessments ought to be, and how the content and assessments should be made available to the learners in order to engage the learners at the depth that they should be engaged in to support them in demonstrating that they are in fact learning to solve problems X, Y, and Z so as to be able to eventually solve X, Y, and Z.
- At the activity-level, instructional design is often applied for new learning activity creation or innovating existing ones.
- The result of following the instructional design process at the activity level is to ensure that the learning activity related to content and assessment (i.e. lecture, readings, practice tests, problem sets, etc.) is sequenced appropriately to contribute toward the learning outcomes that are addressed by the course as a whole.
- For example, if a lecture is identified as an activity in order to introduce key concepts to the learners, then during the design process of the lecture, decisions regarding the sequence and the manner in which the key concepts are broken down and communicated to the learners are made. In addition, decisions on when and how learner engagement should take place to aid learners in internalizing the concepts are addressed.
Concluding point: Following the instructional design process at the curriculum, course, and activity levels helps you make reasoned decisions about learning.
Next week, I will provide you with more highlights from the workshop that address the following question:
- How can we apply instructional design in e-learning contexts?